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So were the Mets threatened with fines over the first responder hats or not?

Sep 13, 2011, 9:36 AM EDT

Reyes cap

There’s not much left to say about MLB’s strange and regrettable decision to prevent the Mets from wearing FDNY and NYPD hats on Sunday night. It’s over and likely will be until next 9/11, depending on what the marketers and money men decide.

But there is an open question, highlighted in the New York Daily News this morning:  Did Major League Baseball threaten the Mets with heavy fines if they wore the hats?

I believe that all the fines were going to be just crazy amounts,” Thole said. “It was coming down from the top as if the fine to the ballclub was going to be significant, and that was something (where) nobody wanted to overstep the bounds there.”

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, said the decision to prohibit the Mets from donning the hats was based on wanting all 32 teams dressed uniformly Sunday and that no one had been threatened with fines. “I heard in several places that it was a ‘mandate’ we ‘ordered,'” Torre told SiriusXM Radio. “Nothing was ordered.”

Those two statements really don’t’ mesh.

Yesterday, on his Twitter feed, R.A. Dickey said that someone from baseball came through the dugout and actually confiscated all of the first responder caps so no player could wear them.  Unless it was Bud Selig himself with a scowl on his face collecting them, what would compel the players to actually give them up? Seems like a team edict — inspired by a threat — could do the trick. Or a threat that came directly to the players would.

Yes, it’s possible that the players all just company men who didn’t really question it when someone said “you gotta give up the caps,” but I’m having a hard time seeing that.  There had to be something else going on here, didn’t there?

UPDATE:  There’s more in the New York Post.  Seems that the Mets and the league were going back and forth over it until the 11th hour and, ultimately, the Mets decided to back down because they’re in deep debt to Major League Baseball over all of their financial problems and didn’t want to rock the boat.  And the fact that it came out that MLB was behind the ban “deeply embarrassed Bud Selig.”

Oh, so sorry, Bud. It’s a shame that you ended up being embarrassed over your embarrassing acts.

  1. Kevin S. - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    I’m sorry, fines should have backfired in a serious way. All the players had to do was vow to make any and all punitive actions public – a P.R. fiasco that would have killed MLB worse than any New Era grousing about apparel rights. The only credible threat MLB could have issued was to management. The Wilpons’ issues are pretty clearly gross incompetence rather than the McCourts’ active malfeasance, but Selig’s willingness to continue to support the ownership is probably the only reason they’re still holding on to their team. They can’t afford to be anything other than company men. Shame, really, because pretty much every other franchise probably would have had the capital to tell Bud Light to go stick it in that situation.

  2. arrabin56 - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    And yet Torre couldn’t stop the 31st and 32nd team from dressing non-uniformly.

  3. steve keane - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Please JP Morgan Chase call in your loan from the Wilpon’s and put them out of business Mets fans are begging you!

  4. easports82 - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    MLB just needs to put out a release at this point saying they screwed this up bad and is going to work with the teams near the most affected areas (NY, DC, PA) to have it set for the future. Fully agree that this is a huge debacle, but it’s time to move forward.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:34 PM

      Yeah, because what happened that day only affected New York, Pennsylvania, and DC. The rest of the country wasn’t involved at all.

  5. kellyb9 - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    “Seems that the Mets and the league were going back and forth over it until the 11th hour and, ultimately, the Mets decided to back down because they’re in deep debt to Major League Baseball over all of their financial problems and didn’t want to rock the boat. ” I certainly understand what’s being said here, but to be honest, here’s where I would’ve gathered a few other teams managers together on a teleconference and asked them to do the same thing (particularly the Yankees). There’s strength in numbers.

  6. yankeesfanlen - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    If the Yankees wanted to do this 10 minutes before game time in Toronto, guess what the answer would have been.

  7. paperlions - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Here is my problem with the narrative. It isn’t like this 10th anniversary thing snuck up on anyone. How is it that the Mets didn’t make this request weeks or months ago? Or that they didn’t make this a standard 9/11 thing for every year a long time ago? Or that MLB didn’t plan ahead so that all teams could wear first responder hats?

    Everyone involved had literally years (and at least months) to get their shit together….so making up excuses about going back and forth at the last minute is just that….a bunch of excuses…by both the Mets, Selig, Torre, and all of MLB.

  8. philly56 - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    I guess I can kind of see where they’re coming from, that only honoring the first responders in NYC while other teams (Nationals, etc.) wouldn’t be able to wear hats commemorating the attack on the Pentagon or something would seem like an inconsistent message – that it was better to just make every team wear american flags on their hats. Unity and all of that.

    But really, had MLB and New Era recognized the desire the Mets had to do this they could have tried to work something out with the NYPD/FDNY to include their logos on the anniversary hats they made for the Mets.  Maybe a patch of the pentagon on it for the Nationals hat, and something with the shanksville memorial on the Pirates or Philles hats.  Unity represented by the flag every team would have, but then something a little closer to home for the teams representing the areas directly affected by 9/11.  Could have even sold them and given a portion of the profits to a 9/11 charity or something.

    • Kevin S. - Sep 13, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Seriously, there were FD NY PD hats after 9/11, with either the Yankee or Met interlocking NY in the middle. You’re telling me that those hats couldn’t have been worn (and sold)?

  9. dodger88 - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I’m sorry, if MLB wanted unifromity they would not allow third jerseys or the military fatigues that the Padres wear. Bunch of crap, plain and simple.

  10. prrbrr - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    MLB should have taken a page from the NFL….but it chose to ignore and put down any effort for remembrance. Bud and Joe will rot. Surprised the Yankees didn’t have their own special uni’s

  11. danberman4 - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    The whole thing is silly. How could MLB and Selig not know this would be a disaster of a decision? What harm did they think wearing the hats would cause?

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